Red #Kidney Bean #Dhal

I substituted the black beans with a can of red kidney beans and added 1/2 a cup of red lentils about an hour into the cooking, adding extra water to stop it from sticking along the way.

The outcome was delicious and I’d recommend playing around with this recipe with beans and lentils of your choice. can’t go wrong really!!

Here’s the original recipe with black beans.

Black bean Dhal with ginger, chilli, onions and tomato

#Vietnamese #cabbage roll #soup with fish balls

I learnt how to make this soup at the fabulous cooking class in Hoi An Mrs Vy’s Cooking Class (my review).

This is my version which features a prawn and carrot filling, fish balls and puffed tofu.

It is a light but filling meal and very healthy.

Prep time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 10-12 green prawns shelled, I used frozen prawns
  • 1 carrot (3/4 grated and the rest cut into thin discs)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 stick lemongrass
  • 1/4 bunch of coriander
  • 2 tablespoons fish suace
  • 1/2 savoy cabbage
  • 1/2 bunch of spring onions
  • 10 Pre-made small vietnamese fish balls – available in most Asian supermarkets.
  • fried tofu puffs
  • 2 litres chicken stock (homemade if you have)

Method:

1. Cut the core of the cabbage out being careful not to break leaves.

2. Carefully “peel” the cabbage leaves off one by one keeping them as intact as possible. Trim the leaves, removing the tough stalk and so the leaves are of as equal size as you can. Save the trimmings for your broth.

3. Bring a pot of water to boil and then submerge the cabbage leaves in the water, bringing the water off the boil so the leaves gently simmer until soft but still intact. Remove the leaves with a slotted spoon and douse the leaves in iced water, then allow to drain.

4. Cut the spring onions just above the white part, and then put the left over green stalks intact into the cabbage boiling water until they soften. Drain and allow to cool.

5. Chop up the prawns finely.

6. Mash up the garlic, white part of the lemongrass (about 2 teaspoons worth), chillies and some of the coriander leaves in a mortar and pestle to a fine paste. I add a bit of salt to help this process. You can whizz in a small blender if you like.

7. Finely grate 3/4 of the carrot. Thinly slice the leftover white part of the spring onions.

8. in a bowl mix the prawns, garlic chilli paste and 1 tbspoons of fish sauce — mix vigorously – I use gloves – to mush together the prawns and the paste, then add sliced spring onions, grated carrot judging the quantity to have about 2/3 carrot to prawn in the mixture.

9. Add the leftover lemongrass, coriander stalks, leftover grated carrot, cabbage trimmings to the chicken stock and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes while you make the cabbage rolls. This adds sweetness and nutrients from your leftover vegees into the stock.

10. Dollop a teaspoon or two of prawn mixture on a cabbage leaf and , bring in the edges first, then roll to close into a secure neat parcel using the green spring onion stalks to tie them together.

11. Strain the chicken stock and put back into the pot, bring to a simmer again, add the other tablespoon of fish sauce, then add carrot discs and cabbage rolls, simmer for 5 minutes, then add fish balls, simmer for another 5-8 minutes and then finally add tofu puffs, additional coriander leaves to garnish, Taste the broth to see if additional salt is needed.

12. Serve in soup bowls and add fresh chopped chilli to spice it up if you like.

#Spring #Soup with chicken #meatballs, leek and #Parmesan

A spring soup that combines tasty chicken meatballs with the sweetness of carrots, peas and leeks with the sharp saltiness of Parmesan. I used some quartered Brussel sprouts and spinach as well for a great result. It’s a great way to use up vegetables.

Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Meatballs
300g chicken mince
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic pounded to a paste
Pinch of salt
Black pepper
1/2 small onion very finely diced
1 red chilli finely diced (optional)

Soup:
1 litre chicken stock + 2-3 cups water
1 leek white and pale green part finely sliced
1/2 onion finely diced
1 carrot grated
2 cloves garlic pounded to a paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup of peas
8 Brussel sprouts quartered
Handful or two of baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and black pepper to season
Basil or parsley leaves for garnish

Method:

1. Combine ingredients for meatballs using and form into small meatballs.

2. Fry meatballs in a non stick fry pan until golden on all sides, for about 3 minutes and set aside.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy based soup,or casserole pot, add onions and leeks and sweat over low heat until tender, add garlic paste and stir through.

4. Add stock and 2 cups water to leek mixture and bring to a boil.

5. Add meatballs, grated carrots, Brussel sprouts and simmer gently for 5-8 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

6. Add peas and simmer for 1-2 minutes until peas are just tender.

7 turn off heat, add baby spinach and allow to sit for a few minutes.

8 serve in bowls, sprinkled with Parmesan, chopped basil/parsley, adding salt and pepper to taste. (serves 2-4)

Noodle Soup with Thai Red Roast Pork

The weather in Sydney this weekend has been awful with very high winds and torrential rain. It feels like winter has really arrived. Of course this  is perfect weather for heart warming soups, roast and casseroles. What a great excuse for comfort food!

This soup is a perfect antidote to winter blues and just as good in summer as it has a light chicken stock base. You can really season this to your taste and leave out the fresh chillies if you prefer a less spicy option.

You will need Thai Red Roast Pork for this recipe which will extend your preparation time if you are making yourself and not “cheating” and buying it at your closest Chinese BBQ store. Same goes for the chicken stock – of course homemade is always nicer but if you don’t have time or any frozen in the fridge then store bought is fine. It is good to fry the finely chopped garlic to  a crisp; and also roast and crush the peanuts, so that is out of the way before you assemble the soup itself. Once you have these key ingredients in hand, everything else is a breeze.

Prep time: 15 minutes    Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
2.5 litres chicken stock
300g of roast red pork thinly sliced
50 g bean sprouts
4-5  iceberg lettuce leaves very finely sliced
200g dried egg or rice noodles (I use fine egg noodles)
2-3 tablespoons fish sauce, depending how salty your stock is
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped and fried to a crisp
1-2 fresh red chillies chopped (optional)

Garnish:
choppped coriander leaves
2 sping onions finely sliced
dried chilli flakes
roughly chopped roasted peanuts

Method
Heat one tablespoon vegetable oil in a small non-stick frying pan and fry garlic until golden and crisp, take care not to burn. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towel to drain. (I make extra fried garlic to use as a garnish as well.)
Dry roast peanuts in a frying pan, then crush roughly in a mortar and pestle or roughly chop
Slice lettuce leaves, coriander and spring onions finely. Keep seperately.


Bring stock to a boil, then bring to a simmer. Add pork, sugar and 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, then add noodles and simmer for about 5-8 minutes until tender. Add fresh chopped chillies at this point if using.


Taste to see if additional fish sauce needed
Add fried garlic, bean sprouts and lettuce.
Immediately turn off the heat and serve in deep soup bowls and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with other garnishes to the side.

Boston Legal Clam Chowder

Monday brought a snow storm to Boston and with it the perfect weather for soups and comfort food. We had enjoyed the milder weather over the weekend, making hay while the sun shined and walking the Freedom Trail learning about Paul Revere’s heroic ride to warn the Patriots of the approaching British troops and all about Boston’s contribution to American Independence.

But by Monday we were ready to hole up and take advantage of the weather to try out Legal Seafood down at the revitalised Seafront district for their renowned Clam Chowder. We had been assured by locals that despite being an ever expanding chain,the quality of food and service had remained and that this was the best spot to sample Boston’s acclaimed seafood.

image

Located next to the fishermen’s pier and overlooking the harbour, Legal Seafood at the Seafront certainly puts one in the mood for fine dining, although more casual dining is also offered downstairs. This is by no means a cheap eats restaurant but at the same time prices for food and wine are excellent value for the quality and style.

We chose a Deloach Sonoma Pinot Noir, which little did we know at the time of ordering, was developed especially for Legal Seafood to go with their seafood centric menu.

Dinner started on a high note with the complimentary amuse Bouche sent by the chef.

The Clam Chowder certainly lived up to it’s reputation and was deliciously creamy – you can taste the sea in the freshness of the seafood ingredients. As a starter it is certainly filling but not heavy. Beautiful free breads were served at the beginning.

image

For mains we tried halibut (rarely found in Australia), and of course lobster. The halibut was served with couscous,roasted fennel and aioli. And the lobster came with a parsnip puree, steamed kale, and one slow cooked beef brisket rib. Both entrees(mains) demonstrated a sophisticated approach to balancing flavours and tastes that “legitimised” for us Legal Seafood’s word of mouth referrals and food critic approvals.

The dessert menu was very tempting but we couldn’t fit it in so we settled for chocolates instead.

image

A must try on you next trip to Boston.

Mussels in Thai Broth

An easy, healthy and delicious main courses or starter – can be served with crispy bread rolls or jasmine rice. Make sure you use fresh mussels. It’s all the better made using homemade Thai prawn stock(see recipe below) but bought fish or chicken stock will do if you are short on time.

Prep time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:
1 kg of mussels, beards removed (do not use any broken mussels)
1 small brown onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 pieces ginger/fresh galangal finely chopped
1-2 hot red chillies chopped
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
6 coriander stalks and roots cleaned and chopped, leaves reserved for garnish
thai basil for garnish
750 ml prawn or fish stock
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Method:
Heat oil in large pot that has a tight fitting lid
Add onions, garlic, ginger and chillies and sautéed over medium heat until onions are translucent
Add coriander, stock, fish sauce and sugar
Add mussels, fit on lid and bring stock to boil.
Shake pan and check after 3-4 minutes, once mussels are open, garnish with coriander and basil leaves, and serve in deep bowls with soupy stock. (Throw out any mussels that don’t open)

Homemade Thai Prawn Stock
Ingredients
Heads and shells of 12 prawns
4-5 small pieces of galangal
2 pieces about 1 finger length of ginger
1 stalk lemongrass chopped
1 brown onion cut into quarters
4-5 coriander roots cleaned of any soil
3 cloves garlic
3 litres water

Method
Put all ingredients into stock pot and bring to a rolling boil
Simmer for an hour-1.5 hours
Strain to remove solids
freeze unused portions for use as a base in Thai soups and Curries